A health worker in India applies the polio vaccine to a young boy. Credit: ACTION/Abhishek Bali
By Yanira Garcia, Global Health Analyst, ACTION
A new era of health equity is upon us. Serious efforts from governments, civil society and multilaterals to “leave no one behind”, are underway to meet the broader social needs of people. If constructed with attention to the needs of diverse populations and country contexts, it will undoubtedly go a long way to address disparities and foster equity.
Over recent decades, immunization has contributed to the dramatic reduction in child deaths. The number of children dying before the age of five has reached a new low — 5.6 million in 2016, compared to nearly 9.9 million in 2000. Routine immunization services are a cornerstone of primary health care and drive an equitable approach to health service delivery on the path to UHC. With their broad reach (their current coverage rate is 86%) they serve as a foundation for delivery of other vital services integral to reaching UHC. These include malaria prevention, nutritional supplements, neonatal and maternal health care and sexual and reproductive health and education. Tackling preventable diseases in an integrated way lessens the burden on health systems by decreasing the cases of critical childhood diseases.
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